The board of two elite schools – whose principal has been under formal investigation and on extended leave — has addressed parents after a scandal.
The board of two elite schools – whose principal has been under formal investigation and on extended leave — has addressed parents after a scandal.

Dear parents: Elite schools address scandal

THE board of two elite schools - whose principal has been under formal investigation and on extended leave - has addressed parents after the scandal was broken by The Courier-Mail.

James Sloman, executive principal of Moreton Bay College and Moreton Bay Boys' College in Manly West, has been the subject of investigation over his conduct and performance since August last year.

The probe followed months of complaints from parents and current and former staff, primarily about a "bullying, toxic culture" and mass exodus of staff.

Parents have been waiting since December to hear from the board, which advised at the time that the investigation into the executive principal by Q Workplace Solutions was in its final stages and that "next steps" would be communicated.

Last week, Mr Sloman launched his own bullying complaint, against the colleges, with the Fair Work Commission. He links the alleged bullying to the dismantling of a schools' swimming program late last year.

Pap of Moreton Bay College Principal James Sloman. 13th March 2020 Manly AAP Image/Richard Gosling
Pap of Moreton Bay College Principal James Sloman. 13th March 2020 Manly AAP Image/Richard Gosling

The Sunday Mail has contacted the colleges' joint board but been told it has no comment on the investigation.

Just before 6pm on Saturday, board chair Samantha O'Brien, MBC head Janet Stewart and MBBC head Andrew Holmes emailed parents and carers saying: "You have most likely seen the article in yesterday's Courier-Mail about our colleges and we would like to respond directly to matters that were raised.

"At the commencement of the 2020 school year, the colleges' executive principal requested personal leave. As you will understand, matters regarding the personal leave of staff should be, and are, treated confidentially.

"You will appreciate that it is not appropriate for the colleges or the board to discuss any inquiries or investigations it may, or may not, be undertaking to ensure the integrity of those inquires and to afford procedural fairness to those involved.

"The behaviours and expectations of staff are guided by a detailed code of conduct. As in any large organisation, there will be times when mediations, investigations and examinations of behaviour and relationships will be required.

"The board and the colleges are committed to ensure that decisions we make align with our Uniting Church Christian values; these are always at the forefront of our decision making."

Regarding the exodus of staff, the board said it saw 'staff retirements, internal promotions, and relocations to pursue career opportunities'.

"Staff are highly valued at the Moreton Bay Colleges and the focus is on employing staff who are exceptional practitioners and align with our values and culture."

The swimming program was axed late last year and has upset many parents.

In response to this, the board said it had undertaken "a full analysis of the delivery of our swimming program as well as current best practice".

"As a result, the decision was made to establish our own swimming club," it said.

John Eisenmenger resigned as board chair in January this year. Sylvia Grigg also left.

Addressing this, the board said it was "not appropriate for any comment to be made about their decisions".


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